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With a large number of outstation guests, Roli and Sarish wanted their wedding to be a unique experience for those attending. Their choice of venues, decor and events proved to be ideal, and they got ample help from Chicago's police force and City Hall. Bride Roli shares how they planned their perfect wedding whose moments were beautifully captured by WeddingSutra favorite Rahul Rana.

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

How We Met
“Sarish and I are Maheshwari Marwaris. We regularly attended community conventions with our families while growing up. However, we didn’t meet until the 2010 convention in Washington, D.C. We had some fun conversations there, so we kept in touch after that weekend even though we lived in different cities. Our friendship truly developed as we both became quite involved in RAYS (Rajasthanis Abroad Youth Samaj) as co-presidents for four years. As we got to know each other's friends and family and explored new cities together, we got closer. When we finally got over the fact that New York and Chicago constituted a ‘long-distance’ relationship, Sarish impulsively purchased a webcam for our Skype chats that went on for hours! Luckily, a few years into our relationship, we no longer needed a webcam as Sarish was able to move to Chicago where we now live together.”

Wedding Venues
“We both wanted to be as hands-on as possible for our wedding so hosting it locally in Chicago seemed to be the right choice.We took quite a bit of time traversing the city as well as the suburbs looking at venues. However, we decided that we wanted to allow our out-of-town guests (about half of the total guest list) to experience the sights and sounds of the city itself, so Downtown Chicago it was!”

Wedding Planning
“We were both excited about the wedding planning process, from the brainstorming sessions, vendor meetings, exploring our creativity and making decisions – we enjoyed everything! We were lucky to be in Chicago which has a big Indian population and all the requisite infrastructure for Indian nuptials already in place. Not only did we find cool venues that had hosted Indian functions previously but the city itself seemed equipped to respond to unique wedding requests. For example, we met Sue at the City Hall to procure a parade permit for the ‘baraat’ (groom’s procession). We started a convoluted description of what a baraat was, and Sue knew what we meant before we had finished describing a baraat. She was very accomodating, so our thanks go out to her for that. Chicago is also home to plenty of vendors and so we were able to meet quite a few of them before making our decisions. We wanted to keep everything fairly ethnic regarding decor, but with our personalized touch, so we included storyboards on why we picked each food station at the sangeet, Chicago and Nashville skylines on our wedding cake and traditional Rajasthani decor throughout. We purposefully chose venues that ‘decorate themselves,’ thereby allowing us to take a more minimalist decor approach and letting the natural beauty and uniqueness of the venues to shine through. Keeping with the aim of enabling our out-of-town guests to explore Chicago, we chose three different places for our events.”

Wedding Functions

Mehendi
“We held our mehendi at the Garfield Park Conservatory to give it a garden party feel. It was the kickoff event for our wedding weekend, so we didn’t want to go overboard with the decor. We maintained the casual atmosphere that we love at mehendi functions. We used bright pink colors to complement our outfits, with centerpieces created by family friends. Finger foods and mocktails helped set the vibe, as our guests were able to roam the grounds and take pictures then stop by our henna artists’ tables. I wore a bright orange lehenga with a hot pink blouse from Suman’s Label in Kolkata while Sarish opted for a green kurta.”

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Sangeet
“Our sangeet took place at the ballroom at the unique and elegant Palmer House A Hilton Hotel. Our focal point for the evening were performances by our family and friends, so we designed the layout of the room to be centered around a large stage with theater-style seating directly in the front. We used the food to tell our guests a little more about ourselves by providing descriptions of each station on display boards along the reason with why we chose that cuisine. We used bright colored fabrics as our tablecloths and backdrops to create a vibrant, festive atmosphere. The centerpieces and other decor elements were used to infuse some Rajasthani flavor. The best part of the event? We knew nothing about the performances and games, so it was all a fun surprise for us! I wore a beautiful beige and pastel pink lehenga from StudioAV by Gaurav and Nitesh in Kolkata, and Sarish wore a pink and purple sherwani.”

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Baraat
“Sarish had been looking forward to his baraat for quite some time, so while choosing a venue, the logistics of the baraat were a key consideration. Luckily, Palmer House A Hilton Hotel was beyond amazing, and the Chicago Police Department gave us an unexpected wedding present that made the whole deal even better. The officers controlling traffic blocked off an entire street rather than just a sidewalk, allowing the party to spill over into the middle of the road!”

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Wedding
“For our wedding decor, we used muted tones of gold and mint. These shades appeared throughout the room, from the golden draped entrance of the ballroom, to our bridesmaids’ mint sarees with golden blouses and our groomsmen’s mint jackets with gold dhotis and pocket squares. A big hit with our guests were the two large golden elephant statues marking the beginning of our aisle. We used an elevated aisle to the mandap to create dramatic entrances and also make the procession more visible to all of our guests. The focal points of the mandap were the flower wall in the rear as well as a chandelier to add a modern touch. Though we incorporated Western traditions such as having a ring bearer, a flower girl and a bridal party, the ceremony itself was a traditional Maheshwari wedding. We were grateful that our priest explained the rituals in English to our guests which allowed them to follow along throughout.”"

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Reception
“We picked the Aon Grand Ballroom at the iconic Navy Pier as our reception venue because it offered a combination of indoor-outdoor spaces that were different from the hotel ballroom feel we had used for our two prior events. The weather cooperated incredibly well all weekend, and this was especially important for our cocktail hour, which was held in the partially covered area surrounding the circular Grand Ballroom. We spread appetizers and bars throughout the area but left everything open enough to allow our guests to walk around Navy Pier and take photos with the lake and skyline. In the ballroom, we had pattern lighting washing over the stage and ceiling creating a festive look. Our theme was navy blue and silver to match the feel of being surrounded by Lake Michigan. We were lucky that our reception coincided with a fireworks show over the lake that our guests were able to enjoy.”

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

Roli and Sarish, Chicago, USA

The Wedding Makers
Venues: Garfield Park Conservatory (Mehendi), Palmer House A Hilton Hotel (sangeet and Wedding), Aon Grand Ballroom (Reception), all in Chicago, US
Wedding Planner: Jankhana Desai
Decor: Elegance Decor
Photo Booth: Icon Video Photo Booths
Bride’s Outfits: Suman’s Label, Kolkata (Mehndi), StudioAV by Gaurav and Nitesh, Kolkata (Sangeet), Vasansi, Jaipur (Wedding), Tequela Rose in Kolkata (Reception)
Groom’s Outfits: Jaihind, Manyavar, C’Lai, Zeglio Custom Clothiers, Chicago (Reception)
Makeup Artist: Hala Beauty
Mehendi: Henna Craze
Catering: Indian Garden (Mehendi), India House (Sangeet, Wedding, Reception)
DJ: DoItAll Entertainment
Photography: Rahul Rana
Videography: Maha Studio

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